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NEWS AND NOTES
On Monday night’s comeback win:
“It’s a huge win for the obvious reasons of not panicking and being able to score late like that. To have a slow start, not get early runs when we had chances, and then having a defensive meltdown, it’s huge to get that win. It’s a confidence builder to not play our best baseball but still get the win. Also, though, let’s face it, we’re doing some scoreboard watching to see what Wichita’s doing to see if we can make up ground. Since they lost and we won, we picked up a whole game. If both of us had lost, that would’ve been a missed opportunity for us.”
On starting pitcher Lucas Irvine:
“He wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen, but he kept battling and battling. His focus has been to keep the ball down. He traditionally gets into trouble when he leaves the ball up, and with his long stride, he has had a problem at times keeping the ball down. Last night he kept the ball down, but he didn’t get all of the calls he’s used to getting, so he had to change his focus. Being able to do that and give us quality innings shows his mentality and toughness. As a pitching staff, that’s an incredible, plus because if we had to take him out in the fourth or fifth inning, that would’ve been more work for our bullpen. That might not have hurt us last night, but it might’ve played into tonight’s game or even tomorrow’s game in terms of how ready and rested our relievers are.”
On Steve Kent, who threw a great eighth inning on Tuesday:
“He’s been great lately. That’s the only way to say it. His numbers are a bit inflated because early in the season, he was our only lefty in the bullpen and our starters weren’t going as deep into games, so he was working more. Since our starters are throwing more innings and he’s into the role he’s used to playing, which is more of a set-up guy, he’s throwing the ball past hitters, including right-handers, which is hard for lefties to do. Now, with the addition of (Brad) Furnish, another left hander in the bullpen, that’s going to help Kent so much.”
On recently acquired catcher Pat Trettel:
“So far he’s offered what I thought he would. Offensively, he can work the count and handle good pitchers. That’s evident from the at-bats he’s had. Defensively, he’s very smart, which we’ve seen, and he has great communication with our pitchers. He’s showing why we made the change and signed him.”
Kansas City takes four-game winning streak into tonight’s contest
The T-Bones have shown a flair for the dramatic in their current four-game winning streak. It began with a 12-inning victory over the Wichita Wingnuts at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Thursday, July 12. Kansas City scored three in top of the 12th, including two on a single by Enrique Cruz, on its way to a 6-3 win.
When Wichita came to Kansas City to complete the home-and-home series, there was more late-inning drama on Friday. With the T-Bones leading 6-3 entering the ninth, Wichita exploded for five runs, taking an 8-6 lead into the bottom of the final inning. T-Bones slugger Brandon Jones tripled to deep left center and tied the game. Then Ray Sadler came through in the clutch with an opposite-field single, delivering the winning run as the T-Bones rallied for the 9-8 win.
Capping off the last regular season game between Kansas City and Wichita on Saturday, the T-Bones spotted the Wingnuts an early 2-0 lead in the second inning. After the second, Wichita mustered only three hits the rest of the contest as starter Josh Rainwater and relievers Steve Kent and Mike Mehlich combined for a four-hitter. Offensively, solo home runs by Lee Cruz, Trevor Coleman and Pat Trettel paced the T-Bones to a 5-2 victory.
After a day off on Sunday, the T-Bones got another victory Monday in the first game of their series against Sioux City. Despite being out-hit 14 to 8, a three-run seventh inning allowed Kansas City to rally for yet another comeback victory. Hunter Mense knocked a double down the left field line in the bottom of the eighth, giving the T-Bones a 5-4 lead. Mike Mehlich came in and closed the game.
With the four-game winning streak, Kansas City has pushed its record to 31-26 and trails division-leading Wichita by 3.5 games.
Former T-Bone returns to Kansas City
In the first series this season between Sioux City and Kansas City, former T-Bones player Pete Barrows will sit in the opposing dugout at CommunityAmerica Ballpark as an Explorer. Barrows played 14 games with the T-Bones last year and batted .280 with seven RBIs. Barrows left Kansas City for Bridgeport before settling in Sioux City as an outfielder.
Garceau’s ERA has him atop the league leader board
Shaun Garceau (5-1, 2.25) did not get a win in his seventh start of the season on Friday night, despite pitching seven solid innings and leaving the game with his team ahead 6-3, but his performance was recognized by an ERA that – despite growing slightly with each start – is the best in the American Association.
Trailing Garceau on the leader board are Stephen Hiscock of Gary SouthShore with a 2.46 ERA and Matthew Rusch of Winnipeg with a 2.52 ERA.
More T-Bones players land on leader board
Righty Shaun Garceau has the lowest ERA in the league, but fellow Kansas City starter Luke Irvine is not far behind. Irvine, who recently entered the rotation after formerly pitching from the bullpen, is fifth in the American Association with an ERA of 2.73. Starter Brian Grening is fourth in the league in strikeouts with 60.
Offensively, outfielder Ray Sadler is tied for sixth in the American Association in homers with 10.
New T-Bones pitchers see action in Monday’s game
Kansas City signed two pitchers in the last two days, and both saw their first action in uniform during Monday night’s comeback win over Sioux City.
Despite giving a leadoff home run after entering the game in the seventh inning, reliever Brad Furnish recovered by striking out two batters in his inning of work after he took over for starter Luke Irvine. Furnish, along with Steve Kent, is one of just two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen.
Dustin Loggins followed Furnish, getting in two-thirds of an inning before being replaced by Kent. Loggins, a righty who played collegiately at College of the Ozarks, allowed one hit and struck out one batter.
Last Series with the Explorers
August 2, 2011
The T-Bones fell to Sioux City, 7-2, at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. The Explorers grabbed a 1-0 lead against Reid Santos in the first on an RBI single by Ray Serrano. Jim Fasano answered with a solo home run off Jason Jarvis – who will pitch on Tuesday for the Explorers - that tied the game in the bottom of the second. Jarvis allowed just one more run on an RBI single in the seventh inning. The right-hander took the win after allowing two runs on four hits over seven innings.
August 3, 2011
Kris Johnson allowed one run on five hits in a complete-game victory as the T-Bones defeated Sioux City, 2-1, at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. The Explorers picked up their lone run against Johnson in the top of the first inning when Kent Sakamoto hit an RBI single. Richard Salazar – who takes the mound for the Explorers tonight – retired the first 14 T-Bones he faced.
August 4, 2011
A bases-clearing triple by Keanon Simon in the bottom of the eighth inning highlighted a five-run frame as the T-Bones took the rubber match of their three-game series against the Explorers, 11-9, at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. Kansas City scored two in the third and added two more in the fourth. Matt Mitchell – who is still a reliever for the T-Bones – held Sioux City scoreless through four innings before the Explorers plated seven runs on five hits in the fifth to gain a 7-4 advantage. A three-run home run by Ray Serrano completed the scoring and chased Mitchell from the game.
Sizing up Sioux City
The Sioux City Explorers came to CommunityAmerica Ballpark with a record of 26-30 on the season. The Explorers are fresh off of a series split with Sioux Falls, where the Pheasants won the first two games of the four-game series and the Explorers took the final two games.
Coming into this series, Kris Sanchez led the Explorers with nine home runs and 46 RBIs. Sanchez’s 46 RBIs are good for sixth place in the American Association. Catcher Ray Serrano was second on the club in three categories, boasting a .310 batting average, seven home runs and 32 RBIs.
Nick Schumacher has been the ace of the Sioux City’s staff so far this season. Schumacher’s five wins lead the club, as do his 54 strikeouts. Tonight’s starter, righty Jason Jarvis, is 4-6 on the year with a 4.52 ERA. In his last start, on July 12, he went six innings and gave up five runs on 11 hits while striking out one and walking one.
Kansas City eyes Wild Card
With the season past its halfway point, the T-Bones are in the hunt for the Wild Card berth if they don’t catch Wichita in the division race.
Kansas City is 3.5 games behind Wichita (from who they took three of four games in their last series) in the Central Division. The home-and-home series that ended Sunday marked the final games in which the T-Bones and Wingnuts faced each this year.
In the wild card race, Kansas City trails first-place Winnipeg by three games and the second-place Amarillo Sox by just a half-game.
Kansas City Playoff History
Kansas City finished the regular season with a 48-48 record. Schaumburg eliminated the T-Bones in the first round, taking the best-of-five series 3-2. Eddie Pearson paced the T-Bones on the season, capturing the league’s MVP award.
The T-Bones celebrated a Northern League championship after defeating Gary SouthShore three games to one in the championship series. Kansas City (46-50) pulled the upset of the playoffs in the semifinals, when it swept one-seed Fargo-Moorhead after sneaking in the playoffs with a 46-50 record and being the last team to make the playoffs.
Gary SouthShore bounced the defending league champ Kansas City in the first round. The T-Bones qualified as the four seed, posting an identical regular season record as the previous year, 46-50.
Despite leading the Northern League throughout the 2010 season, a late-season fade found the T-Bones as the second seed in the playoffs. After Kansas City dispatched the Joliet Jackhammers in the semifinals, Fargo-Moorhead swept the T-Bones in the championship series.
One Year Ago Today …
On July 17, 2011, Kala Ka’aihue, who retired from the T-Bones in June, blasted two three-run home runs for the T-Bones as they defeated the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, 9-5, on Sunday afternoon to salvage a split in their four-game series at Newman Outdoor Field.
After consecutive walks by Joe Harris to begin the top of the second, Ka’aihue connected for his first home run to give Kansas City a quick 3-0 lead. Ray Sadler, who is currently leading the T-Bones in home runs with 10 this season, drove in the fourth run in the top of the third with a two-out single before Ka’aihue connected again for his second three-run shot, giving the T-Bones a 7-0 lead after two-and-a-half innings.
Reid Santos gave Kansas City seven solid innings in the victory, surrendering just one run on an RBI single to Jake Krause in his final inning of work. The left-hander scattered eight hits while walking three and striking out four in the contest.
The T-Bones added two runs in the top of the ninth to make the score 9-1. Steven Stewart threw a scoreless eighth in relief of Santos before the RedHawks attempted a late rally in the bottom of the ninth, scoring four times on four hits before falling short, 9-5. Nic Jackson and Jesse Hoorelbeke each drove in two with singles in the frame.
Up Next for the T-Bones
After a three-game series with Sioux City, the T-Bones hit the road for a four-game series with the American Association-leading Grand Prairie AirHogs. The AirHogs have a record of 37-19 and have a six-game lead over Amarillo in the South Division.
Going into this week, Grand Prairie had multiple players that on the league leader board. Starter Nick DeBarr was tied for the most wins with nine on the season, while fellow starter John Brownell was in a tie for second with seven wins. Brownell was also second in the league with 64 strikeouts.
Brian Myrow and Chris McMurray both sat in the top three of the league in batting average. Myrow’s .365 average was the best in the American Association, while McMurray was in third, trailing only his teammate Myrow and Amarillo’s Tim Alberts, with a .356 average.